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Saturday, February 12, 2011

It's People, Stupid

Long before internet, Samizdat was a key form of dissident activity across the Soviet bloc in which individuals reproduced censored publications by hand and passed the documents from reader to reader. Times are changing now with the tools of information, it's a revolution of facebook generation.

So was it Wikileaks, Facebook, or Twitter that is toppling dictators in Middle East? The people's revolution for liberty is spreading like a domino effect in the Arab world with the help of 1,000 satellite channels. The tools to report the struggle on internet like social networks, blogs, text messaging and mobile phone video clips that can be swiftly uploaded to YouTube are triggering the voice of people.

Those of us far from these upheavals face a powerful responsibility of making these voice heard on the global stage. The inspiration for next popular protest can come from anywhere in the world and people will not only aspire for liberty and freedom but will also know through TV, radio, press and Internet.

Theocracy has arrived in the Iran through popular tapes of Ayotullah Khomeni and so was the protest of Green revolution was sparked through Internet connection. What has started from eastern European countries have come to Islamic countries in thirty years.

In a society that does not tolerate social and cultural views that challenge the status and authority, the Internet presents Anonymity and Security ; Internet provides a platform for the exchange of views with like-minded individuals and for the establishment of local, national or international networks of the people.

By the time the dust settles and the smoke clears, plenty more incriminating pictures and videos will appear, chronicling a popular revolution in the making with all its glorious moments and its dark phases. For documenting everything from the colorful protests in Tahrir Square as well as Tunis, the huge marches of millions in Alexandria and Cairo, the awful scenes of cars running over pedestrians, we owe our thanks to many people whose names we will never know.

Leaders get power from the people that they lead on trust. If the people lose trust in the leader, no power can put the ruler on the throne forever. We have to be cautious that it is not a social change, but a step towards political democracy. It's not only the victory of the technology over censor , it is the victory of the people and liberal values.  I will quote here two paragraphs written by Linda Herrera about the use of technology in the revolution :

"Many have since asked: Is this a “Facebook Revolution?” It is high time to put this question to rest and insist that political and social movements belong to people and not to communication tools and technologies. Facebook, like cell phones, the internet, and twitter, do not have agency, a moral universe, and are not predisposed to any particular ideological or political orientation. They are what people make of them.

Facebook is no more responsible for Egypt’s revolution than Gutenberg’s printing press with movable type was responsible for the Protestant Reformation in the fifteenth century. But it is valid to say that neither the Reformation nor the pro-democracy rights’ movements sweeping Tunisia, Egypt, Iran, and much of the region would have come about at this juncture without these new tools. Digital communications media have revolutionized learning, cognition, and sociability and facilitated the development of a new generational behavior and consciousness. And the old guard simply do not get it."
What is happening in Egypt is not a Facebook Revolution. But it could not have come about without the Facebook generation, generation 2.0, who are taking, and with their fellow citizens, making history.The revolution is here to stay and more power will flow towards people only. The way ahead lies through peaceful protest against extremism and opportunism in democracy. Iran, Kashmir, Tunisia and now Egypt.... Protests are here to stay. Winds of change have start blowing in Yemen, Algeria, Gabon :-)


  1. Great work Himanshu. I am proud of you :).

    So, do you sense any "jasmine" kind of revolution in our nation? let's say "lotus revolution".. Against graft.

    or.. it's impossible because we already have a democratic system, with many means of emotional release and freedom of expression.(?)

  2. Thanks for so much appreciation Bhaiya; It's not so original that was intent of compiling this article. No, I don't sense any kind of revolution in our country and the reasons are clearly mentioned by you here.

    The instruments like PIL, RTI, positive discrimination policy like reservations for SC, ST & OBC and power de-centralization scheme like Panchayats are huge change happening in India. That is why these rebel acts are not happening in most part of India.

  3. Nice post, and I agree with the overall premise. Having colleagues here who are from Iran, Tunisia and Algeria, it is good to get their perspective on these recent incidents.

    One HTML point: when quoting, you may want to use the "blockquote" tag.

    Keep it up,

  4. Thanks sir for coming here after so long time. You are there in the land of wine, guillotine and revolution having much better knowledge of all Maghreb region. Your blogs will also add insight on the changing course of time.

    And much thanks for that HTML point. I was searching for right way to club the quote in articles but was failing so..



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